Has there ever been a more apt line to describe the situation in the financial services industry then Rudyard Kipling’s opening line in his classic poem If?
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you”
Whether you’re in an industry that has taken a hit, or your business is facing troubling times, what do you do when everything goes pear shaped? How do you recover from a loss of face? How do you carry on when your name and your profession has not just been dragged through the mud but stomped on for good measure?
No one can change what’s happened. It’s a question of how you deal with it that will define you and the future for your business.
Those who embrace the reality of any given situation will be the ones who ultimately make the best of it and those who embrace it are the ones that take full ownership and 100% responsibility.
Right now the financial services industry in general has reached ground zero. The revelations of gross negligence in relation to all sorts of financial matters emanating from the Royal Commission are tarnishing everybody with the same brush.
The opportunities created by adverse publicity for the industry are not immediately evident but when you look at the bigger picture, now might be the very best time to plant your flag and create your point of difference in the market place.
All types of businesses have overcome what appeared to be catastrophic events by setting and following a clear course of decisive action that takes ownership of the past and embraces change in the future. (Notwithstanding that there might have been one or two that needed a few additional nudges before coming clean, but that’s an aside)
People need to trust and respect leaders.
When industry leaders step up to the plate, take ownership of problems and commit to change they can actually enhance their position in the community. On the contrary, when they twist and turn and try to slide out of their mistakes the damage caused can be irreparable.
In today’s world of twenty second sound bites, slick marketing and corporate doublespeak, admitting to being human is somewhat of a novelty, and yet, isn’t this what we seek when we’re bored of all that marketing spin?
When things aren’t where you’d want them to be, now is the time to be real and vulnerable and focus on the opportunities.
Here are some key strategies to follow to build and enhance your reputation in trying times.
- Set a leading example. Platitudes won’t cut it. Lead by doing, lead by communicating, often, with honesty.
- Manage for sustainable profit. Let’s face it we’re all in business to make money. Profit should never be a dirty word. However, when we are perceived as putting profits before people, we lose credibility. The key in building sustainable profit is to provide real value for all stakeholders at all levels.
- Give something back. Invest in the wider community. Motherhood statements have had their day. Becoming an active leader in the wider community helps to build real trust. You need to find your level whether it is taking a socially responsible lead in key issues or supporting the local community at club and association level. People recognise sincerity and genuine efforts. Get on the front foot and be seen to be doing the right thing not because you have to but because you want to.
- Be a voice for change. The financial services industry in particular needs strong voices that call for changes in behaviour and standards. The voices must be clear and easy to understand. Spin and weasel words are the last thing that people need now. Clear communication of a vision for changed behaviour will resonate strongly.
Today’s headlines are tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappings. Keep your head. Act decisively and thoughtfully and watch your reputation soar.
I live and breathe helping business owners get the clarity needed to continue going forward, and this is without a doubt my deep passion and purpose; I absolutely love what I do. If you want to have a chat about how I help you achieve your goal, get in touch.Tags: Business Passion Strategy